Zuma Must Fall: Former South African president and African National Congress (ANC) leader Kgalema Motlanthe has admitted that President Jacob Zuma is more focused on vested interests than the welfare of the nation.
The 69-year-old ANC member asserted that a breakdown in the African National Congress’s democratic values under Zuma and a ruling by the Constitutional Court last year that he violated his oath of office by failing to repay taxpayers’ money spent on his Nkandla homestead showed that Zuma has lost respect in the country.
Motlanth said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday that it’s very obvious the embattled president no longer has what it takes to rally and unite the various sections of the South African population.
“He [Zuma] doesn’t come across as someone who thinks about what is in the national interests or what is in the organizational interests but seems to be driven by an agenda based on vested interests. That’s why to an observer there’s a measure of irrationality to what he does”.
Motlanthe, who served as president from September 2008 to May 2009, ruled out standing for election as ANC leader at the end of this year when Zuma is scheduled to step down, even if asked to run. He explained that the party leadership is no longer obeying its own constitution and the election could be rigged.
He was responding to South Africa’s recent downgrade to junk status by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s Global.
On Monday, the agency downgraded the country to BBB minus, citing political instability as a major factor. South African rand has already begun to react, losing about 3% between Monday and Tuesday morning.
However, the currency is expected to get weaker should agencies Fitch and Moody’s decide to downgrade.
Though President Jacob Zuma took much of the blame for Monday’s Standard & Poor’s downgrade, the agency gave many other reasons for SA’s junk status.
They attributed the junk status to other issues like; South Africa’s slow economic growth‚ burgeoning levels of government debt‚ the dodgy financial situation at parastatals, non-payment of e-tolls, outstanding payment by Sanral and the fact the corporate world is not investing its cash in the country.
The agency also blamed the government for reshuffling the cabinet, which they said put the fiscal and growth outcomes at risk.
Another issue was Eskom’s huge debt and poor governance. S&P noted that Eskom needs R70 billion to fund its deficit this year and also needs to complete its board appointments and appoint a permanent CEO.
Zuma’s late night reshuffle has since shoved the country into chaos as South Africans prepare to stage a mass protest on April 7.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe and Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize have publicly questioned the manner in which the cabinet changes were handled.